Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882-April 12, 1945), 32nd President of the United States, the longest-serving holder of the office and the only man to be elected President more than twice, was one of the central figures of 20th century history. Born to wealth and privilege, he overcame a crippling illness to place himself at the head of the forces of reform. His family and close friends called him Frank. To the public he was usually known as "FDR."
Roosevelt’s inspirational leadership helped the United States recover from the Great Depression according to many historians, but others dispute this claim arguing that Roosevelt’s economic policies actually slowed recovery. In the build up to the Second World War, he prepared the USA to be the "Arsenal of Democracy" against Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire, but aspects of his leadership, particularly what is seen as his naÃ¯ve attitude toward Joseph Stalin, are criticized by some historians. Finally his vision of an effective international organization to preserve peace was brought to fruition as the United Nations after his death.
In his lifetime Roosevelt was a polarizing figure: he was a hero to liberals and a hated figure to conservatives. Today opinions of him are more complex. Some liberals criticise measures such as the internment of the Japanese-Americans during World War II and his failure to advance civil rights for African Americans. Some conservatives such as Ronald Reagan have praised his national leadership, while dismantling his social programs.